Proposals for the most significant building development of Leicester Cathedral for at least 80 years are being published today and are open for public comment.
A new Heritage Learning Centre, on four levels, two above ground and two below, is planned for one corner of the Cathedral Gardens. In addition, major repairs and renovations to the main building are scheduled to take place. The proposals form part of the £11.3m Leicester Cathedral Revealed project, which has secured the support of the Heritage Lottery Fund and is currently in its development stage. They will form the basis of plans to be submitted over the summer to local planners and the Cathedrals Fabric Commission for England.
Since the reinterment of Richard III in March 2015, visitor numbers to Leicester’s Cathedral have jumped ten-fold from 20,000 to over 200,000 a year, making it one of the City and County’s major tourist attractions. An independent assessment conducted by the University of Wolverhampton calculated that the Cathedral currently makes an annual contribution to the local economy of £8.7m. The team calculate that the Leicester Cathedral Revealed project will significantly increase the figure to £15m a year.
The Dean of Leicester, the Very Revd David Monteith said: “Nowadays we welcome very many visitors to our Cathedral, coming for many reasons, both spiritual and otherwise. We want to give every visitor the proper welcome they deserve, and to be able to tell the stories of our city and our faith in ways which are accessible to as many as possible.”
Pete Hobson, the Cathedral’s Project Director, said: “Our plans are developing well, but there is still a way to travel. Now we would really like to give the public a chance to have their first look and tell us what they think. We’ll be listening carefully to every comment.”
The last major building work at the Cathedral took place in the 1930s when some vestries were added to St Martin’s. Everyone is welcome to come and see the display of plans in the Cathedral. They are on view at all times the Cathedral is open for general visiting, between 9am and 6pm daily from Wednesday 6th June for five days.